Torquay post-punkers Tourists serve up a dark twisted fantasy like no other- but it’s brilliant.
Very few debut albums are as risky as “Another State”, the eagerly-anticipated debut from Torquay’s indie trailblazers Tourists. Exploring the intricacies of the human condition, suicide of celebrities and paranoia in the modern world, the album sounds like (what I imagine) a very intense acid trip to be like. After you’ve immersed yourself for the forty-four minutes, it’ll take you another ten minutes to come down back to reality. A bit of dancing, a bit of soul-searching, a bit of crying. The record has it all.
Releasing their debut single seven years ago, it’s safe to say their debut record has been a long time in the making. After an extended writing session in a secluded rehearsal space in 2018, the basis of an atmospheric yet energetic album was written. The five-piece then decamped to Brooklyn to work with Daniel Schlett, producer of records by War on Drugs, amongst others. Finally, the record was polished and mastered back in the UK by Simon Heyward, mastermind behind some of Nick Cave’s mellow and suspenseful sounds. With no stone left unturned and no sombre synth line left finessed, the album was completed.
And what an experience it is. With hints to Ian Curtis’ intense vocals, as well as a post-punk dance sound re-invigorated by the likes of Working Men’s Club, “Another State” is a record that requires full attention. Quite frankly, with a sound so rich and immersive, I doubt you would be able to do anything else with this album playing. From the opener “Silent Type”, the record plunges the listener into a state of escapism, whilst exploring very real themes. As well as manipulation within relationships (Lego Man), the album discusses class struggles (Perception Management) and the hypocrisy of drug laws (Smokescreen). As well as showing clear musicianship, Tourists demonstrate clear emotional intelligence, something that many musicians are devoid of, confined to writing soppy love songs or songs about drunken fights. Even if Tourists did choose to write about a scrap in a boozer, I’m sure they could turn it into an avant-garde single about the state oppression of the youth. That, although it may not sound like it, is most definitely a compliment.
Already having played a Glastonbury set and having singles spun on Radio 1, “Another State” might just be the leg-up from being a niche but very listenable band I can impress my friends with to a band that can cultivate a real following. With a distinguishable look (more facial hair than a Harley Davidson convention), backing from up-and-coming indie label Modern Sky (The Coral, Jamie Webster, The Lathums) and heaps of innovative ideas, I would keep a very firm eye on Tourists. ****